The Dark Ages
info This commentary was written by a volunteer for our Bible translation project. It’s not an official view of our project; we are not a religious denomination and we do not establish doctrine. These commentaries reflect a variety of views and some disagree with each other.
Could the 400-year period of silence between the writing of the books of Malachi and Matthew be considered another one of the “Dark Ages?”
Now, we are sure that most will agree this isn’t what is commonly referred to by the name, ‘the Dark Ages.’
Rather, our understanding of the ‘Dark Ages’ is it’s the period that began shortly after the Apostles died late in the First Century, for that’s when men started teaching things that systematized men’s thoughts and led them away from the reality of the presence of God within themselves. And this robbed them of their ability to hear and discern His voice for themselves.
For a brief period, the early Christian Congregation was a vibrant and powerful living organism. The Holy Ones in that day were manifesting the Christ through great signs and wonders, which followed on the heels of the Word that they preached. However, that didn’t last long, for Christianity soon entered a breach period… a period of darkened understandings. It’s a time when ‘Christianity’ became a systematized religion with institutions, man-made organizations, and paid priesthoods.
Yet, although we usually refer to the ‘Dark Ages’ as a period of long ago, it’s one that we’ve never completely recovered from, for it has lasted more than 1900 years now.
Paul (the Apostle) knew that there were dark times coming for the Christian Congregation. For he wrote a letter to Timothy (in 1 Timothy 4:1, 2) where he warned, ‘wicked spirits and the teachings of demons [which are the result of] the hypocrisy of men who are liars and whose consciences are seared as with branding irons,’ were already at work in the Christian Congregation.
So, he was essentially telling Timothy, ‘You’d better be careful, because even within our own ranks there are those who are teaching wrong things. They are lying, deceiving spirits who are using men with knowledge of God to teach and speak things that lead Christians away from the truth.’
Here Paul was giving a prophetic warning that many teachings and doctrines would soon infiltrate the Christian Congregation and pervert the true good news. They would introduce doctrines that would seduce and systematize the thinking of men and alienate them from the truth and from the power of spirit life that is in Jesus. And, as this was happening in Paul’s time, we find that it’s still happening today.
As history clearly shows, men soon embraced those carnal religious doctrines rather than listening to the voice of God for themselves; and this led Christianity into gross darkness, both in their understanding and in their behavior. Consider the Crusades and Inquisitions for example; why, Christians who were truly listening to God were tortured or burned alive at the stake as heretics at the hands of those who claimed to be the representatives of LOVE!
This certainly was a dark time.
Then, through the care of God, there was a slight reprieve early in the 16th century, when some light began to shine in the darkness, starting with Martin Luther. That was the beginning of the reformation, and it’s still in the works today.
Then again, more light was provided at the turn of the 20th Century, but even this was just another step of reformation that is needed to get the Christian Congregation back to where it was. For the latter Christian Congregation must go far beyond the former!
Now, with even a little knowledge of history, it isn’t difficult to see that Christianity slipped into gross darkness many centuries ago, and we haven’t fully emerge from that darkness yet. Sure, Christians may not be torturing or burning other Christians at the stake as they did in the medieval times, but they are still certainly killing each other in their wars and ethnic cleansings… and also in their words, thoughts, and intentions of their hearts. Why, whenever someone tries to shine some light on the misconceptions that are found in the traditional teachings of Christendom today, certainly finds out what it means to be ‘murdered’ in the true Biblical sense of the word.
So, Holy Ones, we certainly have a long way to go. And the sooner that we understand this, the sooner we’ll get to be what we should be, genuine manifestations of the Christ.